Iran Reportedly Test-Launches Rocket Capable Of Taking Satellite Into Orbit
July 27, 2017
Iranian state media report that Iran has successfully test-launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into a low Earth orbit.
Iranian state television and other domestic media on July 27 said the test involved the Simorgh (Phoenix) space-launch vehicle, which can be used to send a satellite weighing up to 250 kilograms "into an orbit of 500 kilometers."
"The Imam Khomeini Space Center was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh space launch vehicle," state television reported.
Intendent sources did not immediately confirm the launch, although U.S. officials said earlier that a launch was expected "at any time" from Iran's Semnan launch center, about 200 kilometers east of Tehran.
Such tests are allowed under the 2015 nuclear accord reached between Iran and Western powers.
But U.S. officials have said they violate the spirit of the deal, which imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Western officials have expressed concerns that the same technology used to launch satellites could be converted to develop long-range missiles. Iran denies its space program is a cover for developing weapons.
Iran in April 2016 attempted a similar launch but failed to put a satellite into orbit, Fox News quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.
Based on reporting by Reuters, Fox News, and AP
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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